One of the popular mistakes Ghanaian mothers make on a daily basis is to assume that everyone loves babies.
Here I’m in this Mercedes Sprinter Van, from Kasoa to 37 Lorry Station to be precise, with a tired looking mum carrying a hyperactive toddler in front of me. Beside them is a well perfumed dressed Slay queen chewing gum and listening to music with an earpiece while pressing her phone. The hyperactive toddler who looks about a year plus, is energetically jumping up and down his mother’s lap and spraying saliva at his closest neighbours. Slay queen is obviously irritated by this and tries to bodily shift away, a herculean task in the crowded van.
Someone suggests to the mother that the baby may be hungry so she flips out her mammary to breastfeed him. The slay queen looks faintly disgusted that a big baby like this one is still being breastfed at his age. But she gives a not-my-business shrug and faces her phone again. We are now approaching Baa-Yard-Awoshie traffic lights. From the observatory of the side screen, I watched bemused, as hawkers sell on the streets.
There is peace till the child is done breastfeeding and decides he’s now fascinated with Aunty’s phone. He takes an unexpected swipe at the device and sends it flying out of Slay queen’s hands to the metallic floor of the van.
“Control wo ba no,” to wit, “Control your kid,” she yelled at the embarrassed mother. The poor woman was full of apologies as she picked up the phone and handed it back. Slay queen stared with horror at the phone screen after snatching it from her, and in a high pitched voice shriller than the music, declared it was cracked and the woman would have to pay for it. The bus conductor started laughing as other passengers started to beg Slay queen to forgive the innocent baby.
“Aunty no vex, he’s still a kid,” whimpered the mother of the toddler who incidentally appeared to be giggling in the midst of the crisis he’d caused.
“I don’t care!”
“This is a brand new iPhone.”
“Do you know how expensive it is?” hissed the very annoyed slay queen, her heavily-lashed eyes blazing.
“Haba Aunty!” one elderly man behind tried to soothe her. “Won’t you also have future babies?”
“That’s how babies behave, Aunty no vex,” chipped in the still snickering bus conductor.
The toddler decided to be mischievous again and made a grab for Slay queen’s hair. She shrieked as the baby pulled her wig off, stuffing one end of it into his mouth. Many of the passengers burst into uncontrollable laughter at the latest antic, and even though I was amused, I felt rather sorry for our slay queen.
Under the wig was a half bald scalp apparently losing an ongoing battle with dandruff and baldness. It wasn’t a nice spectacle to behold, and Slay queen was terribly embarrassed and devastated by such a disgrace.
She snatched her wig back and dealt the baby a resounding slap on his chubby cheek. He started screaming. His mother’s hitherto apologetic countenance changed instantly.
“You slap my child?”
“Are you crazy?
“You are not correct at all,” she thundered, charging at Aunty Slay queen with her fist.
The entire van was in uproar, and much as I would have loved to find out the end of the drama, I had to alight at the next bus stop which was my destination. I had an urgent appointment and couldn’t afford to be late. The last I noticed though was that more than 50% of the passengers were against Aunty Slay queen for slapping the child, totally forgetting she was the victim of child mischief.
Only a few actually chided the mother for not having enough control over her own kid.
But again, why should a human be allowed to bully another and get away with the excuse of young age?
By Charles Sarpong Amponsah.